They're sometimes added to non-dairy foods and drinks to help improve their taste and texture or to simply bolster nutrition. So milk ingredients could be hiding out in foods you'd never suspect like bread, snack bars and even pasta sauce.
Because even the tiniest bit of milk can trigger a reaction in an allergic child, finding foods without milk may seem difficult. But it doesn't have to be.
Become an Expert Label Reader
By learning to spot milk-containing ingredients in your family's favorite foods, you can keep your child safe. The key is to become an expert label reader by carefully scrutinizing the ingredient list of all foods you buy.
In the U.S., food packages must identify the eight major food allergens, which include milk. Food labels provide this information in one of two different ways.
- The first is by including the word "milk" in parentheses after each milk-containing ingredient. For example, if you're buying animal crackers that contain whey protein, you may see the words "whey protein" followed by the word "(milk)" in the ingredient list.
- Alternatively, this information may be added at the very end of the ingredient list via a general disclosure that reads, "contains milk." Either way, by scouring the ingredient list, you can identify if the food is appropriate for your child.
Check Labels Every Time
Just keep in mind that food manufacturers change their ingredients from time to time. To ensure that you're feeding your child a milk-free diet you'll want to read the ingredient list every time you go food shopping in case new milk-containing ingredients have been added. Check the handy list below to get started.